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Owo Massacre: Akeredolu, Catholic Church Disagree On Casualty Figures

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Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the Catholic Diocese yesterday disagreed on the casualty figure of the Sunday attack at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, headquarters of Owo Local Government of the state.

While Akeredolu disclosed that 80 persons were involved in the last terror attack and only 22 died, the Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Jude Arogundade said the attack claimed 38 lives.

According to Akeredolu, who disclosed the casualty figures yesterday evening during a statewide broadcast to the people of the state in respect of the attack that rocked the state, 52 survivors are on admission at the Federal Medical Center, Owo, St Louis Hospital, Owo and the Owo General Hospital as well as some private hospitals.

The governor said the attack was an attempt to test the will of the people of the State and indeed, the entire South West.

He added that the dastard act has the brazenly possible consequence of invitation to national anarchy, saying that “Yorubaland, and Owo in particular, have never been conquered before; and it will never happen.” Akeredolu, therefore, promised to commit every available resource to hunt down the assailants and make them pay dearly, stressing that the state will never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in its resolve to stamp out criminals. He said: “The site, that is, St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo presents a gory war-like scene.

The Federal Medical Centre, Owo, the St. Louis Hospital, Owo, the General Hospital, Owo as well as some private hospitals in Owo were filled with the injured, most of who were in critical conditions.

“The most unfortunate part is the lives of innocent children cut down in their prime and some severely injured by the mindless attackers. “At Owo, the anger was palpable. The tension was at an abrasive level just as the urge for reprisals was high.

Without doubt too, the ripple impact of this heinous act as well as the understandably angry reaction across the State could not have been different. “I urge our people to be calm but remain vigilant. Do not take the law into your own hands. Leave the rest for government to shoulder. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I can assure you that security operatives have been deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom.

“May I use this medium to express gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who aside his demonstrated concern, directed his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON to visit the scene of this criminal act. Meanwhile, the Bishop Arogundade, who revealed that efforts were still ongoing to trace those who took bodies of their loved ones away without getting to the hospital.

The Bishop said “People have been asking me about the figure of those who died. The future that we can account for presently is 38. “But we know that many people were taken to private hospitals. Even some people came to take the bodies of their loved ones. We are trying to trace those people so that we can have a recount for all. “But in the catholic hospital which is Saint Louis Hospital in Owo and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo, we have 38 bodies.”

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